Numbers favor Kentucky by 21 points over Northern

Bam Adebayo, Malik Monk share a laugh at Thursday’s practice in Indianapolis. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By RICHARD CHEEKS

The Kentucky Wildcats enter the NCAA tournament as the #2 seed in the South Region. The Cats enter the Big Dance with a 29-5 record, SEC regular season and tournament champions, and are riding an 11 game winning streak. The Cats’ first opponent is Northern Kentucky.

The official records of the UK Basketball program show only one prior meeting between these programs, on November 10, 2013, with the Cats a 36-point winner, 99-63. However, these teams met one previous time when the Norse came to Rupp for one of the Cats’ pre-season exhibition opponents on November 3, 2004. In that exhibition game, the Cats came away with an 18-point win, 91-73.

Clearly, in 2004, the NKU Norse was not a D1 program, and in 2013, it entered the realm of D1 competition. 2016-17 is the first season that provides NCAA post-season eligibility for the NKU Norse, and they clearly have made the most of the opportunity by playing their way into the 68 team field by winning the Horizon League post season tournament, and winning 12 of their last 14 games including their last 6 games.

NORTHERN KENTUCKY enters this game with a 24-10 record, but as noted above, on January 20, following a 7 point home loss to Oakland, the Norse record stood at only 12-8. The Norse’ most impressive win this season was a 4 point home win over #103 Valparaiso, and at the other end of the spectrum, NKU’s most embarrassing losses this season have been at #284 Youngstown State by 4 and to #290 Austin Peay by 8 points on a neutral court.

NORTHERN KENTUCKY enters this game with an ANE of -0.016 points per possession against strength of schedule of 0.0385 ppp (#248). The Cats enter this game with an ANE of 0.287 ppp against strength of schedule of 0.0966 ppp (#30).

The ANE analysis indicates a Kentucky win by 21 points, 79-58 at apace of 68 possessions. This would produce game efficiencies of 1.163 ppp and 0.854 ppp. Pomeroy sees this game in Kentucky’s favor by 19 points 87-68 at a pace of 72 possessions. Vegas opened favoring the Cats by 20 points.

Use the following link to see how other UK fans handicap this game at 247Sports, The Cats Pause message board:
http://bigbluefans4uk.com/2016-17DataandWritings/247_PREDICTIONS/35_Predictions.png

You can participate in the score prediction contest at 247Sports at the following link:
http://kentucky.247sports.com/Board/296/Contents/NCAA-First-Round-Prediction-Thread-Northern-Kentucky-51746159

1 comment

  1. Analysis:
    UK scored its 79 points on 75 possessions (1.053 ppp) for the game, and NORTHERN KENTUCKY scored its 70 points on 73 possessions (0.946 ppp).
    Kentucky won the battle of the boards, 41-36, but Northern Kentucky won on the offensive end 10-9. Kentucky used its 9 second chance possessions to score 5 second chance points, and NORTHERN KENTUCKY used its 10 second chance possessions to score 6 second chance points. NORTHERN KENTUCKY had an offensive efficiency of 0.865 ppp on its 73 first chance possessions and 0.600 ppp for its 10 second chance possessions. UK had 0.987 ppp on its 75 first chance possessions and 0.556 ppp on its 9 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 25.7% of its misses as offensive rebounds while NORTHERN KENTUCKY was able to convert 23.8% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
    UK hit well from the free throw line making 22-28 (78.6%). NORTHERN KENTUCKY made 10-11 [90.9%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 27-61 overall [44.3%] and 3-17 from long range [17.6%]. For NORTHERN KENTUCKY, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 18-40 [45.0%] and from long range, NORTHERN KENTUCKY hit 8-32 [25.0%].
    The Cats committed 11 turnovers, one for every 6.8 possessions. The Cats forced 8 NORTHERN KENTUCKY turnovers, one for every 9.2 possessions.
    Next Game On Schedule: Sunday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament against Wichita State.

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